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How Long Did it Take Noah to Build the Ark? (and What We Can Learn from It)

How Long Did it Take Noah to Build the Ark? (and What We Can Learn from It)

How long did it take Noah to build the ark? Have you ever wondered about the time and details taken to build the ark? Scripture shares descriptions of the process. Every inch of the ark and what God instructed Noah to put in the ark has important meaning. Some scholars believe it took 40 years, while others teach it took 100 years for Noah to build the ark!

Think about the amount of time a project has taken you to complete. Then, consider the question ‘how long did it take Noah to build the ark’? We usually have a list of instructions when we are building a piece of furniture or preparing a delicious recipe. Our projects may be finished in less than an hour or the task may take years to complete. How long did it take Noah to build the ark? Perhaps when our patience is tested and we want to be done with a certain “to do” thing, we can pause and think about the amount of time and effort Noah put into building the ark and filling it with people and animals. How long did it take Noah to build the ark?

The Story of Noah and the Ark

Scripture shares how the number of people on earth continued to increase. Yet, the people were filled with wicked ways. The Lord saw the wickedness and regretted that He had created humans. They only thought of themselves and how to fill their own desires. The Lord’s heart was troubled. (Genesis 6:6 NIV) 

The Lord made a significant move. He decided to wipe all humans from the face of the earth. Along with the humans, He would wipe away the animals and birds and all creatures that moved on the ground. Although He was heartbroken over the way the humans were acting, Noah was one person who found favor in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:8 NIV)

Who was this Noah who found favor with God? Noah was considered blameless among his people. He walked faithfully with God. Noah had three sons. God spoke to Noah and said He was going to put an end to all the people on the earth because of their sinful ways. But Noah and his family would be spared. God instructed Noah to build an ark. God provided specific instructions on how the ark was to be built and what was to be put inside the ark.

The ark would be made of cypress wood and have rooms in it. Noah was instructed to coat it with pitch inside and out. The ark was to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high. A roof was to be made. The roof would have an opening one cubit high. A door was to be put in the side of the ark and Noah was told to make three decks. God shared with Noah how He was going to bring floodwaters on the earth and destroy every living thing.

An important covenant was made between God and Noah. God told Noah to take his wife, sons and the wives of the sons into the ark with him. Also, two of every living creature, male and female were to be placed into the ark, to keep them alive. Noah was told to take food to be eaten. Noah listened and obeyed God.

Scripture says that Noah was about five hundred years old when he was first mentioned. When he entered the ark, Noah was about six hundred years old. Some scholars say Noah took one hundred and twenty years to build the ark. Scripture doesn’t tell us exactly how long it took him to build the ark. Yet, the act of building this huge ark would not have been done quickly.

When Noah was about six hundred years old, the floodwaters came. Noah waited inside with his family and the animals. Rain fell for forty days and forty nights. Imagine the sound of the rain hitting the roof of the ark. Perhaps there was thunder and wind. Were the people afraid? Were the animals afraid? Noah knew God had a plan and Noah trusted God. As the rain continued, the waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. (Genesis 7:24 NIV)

God kept His promise to Noah. God sent a wind over the earth and the rain stopped and the waters receded. After forty days, Noah opened a window in the ark and sent out a raven. The raven flew back and forth. Then Noah sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the ground. The dove couldn’t find a place to land because the earth was still covered with water. Noah waited seven more days and once again sent out the dove. The dove returned with a plucked olive leaf. Noah knew then that the water had gone down. Seven days later, Noah sent out the dove again and that time, it did not return.

Noah knew it was time to remove the covering from the ark and look out. He saw the land was dry. God spoke to Noah and told him to come out of the ark and to bring his family and the animals out of the ark. Noah gave thanks by building an altar to the Lord and sacrificing burnt offerings. The Lord was pleased and told Noah that never again would He curse the ground because of humans.

Scripture shares how God made the covenant with Noah by setting His rainbow in the clouds. God said the rainbow would be the sign of the covenant between Him and the earth. Whenever we see a rainbow, we can be reminded of the covenant between God and all living creatures.

Why Did Noah Need to Build the Ark?

Noah needed to build the ark to show his love, obedience, and honor for God. Noah was considered to be a blameless and righteous man in his community. When God gave Noah instructions to build an ark and what to put in that ark, Noah listened and obeyed. Have you ever felt God was calling you to do something that seemed impossible? With God, all things are possible. We are never alone. God is always with us and will guide us in every situation.

Noah listened to God, obeyed His instructions, and was able to save his family and the animals in the ark. Noah didn’t hesitate or question the intentions of God. God knew Noah would listen and follow His instructions.

5 Things We Can Learn from Noah Building the Ark

  • God’s plan is always best.
  • When we trust in God, we have the opportunity to see the fruits of our labor.
  • God’s timing is always correct.
  • We don’t have to know every detail in God’s plan for us. Trust Him.
  • Patience may be an opportunity to develop a closer relationship with God.

Sunday School may be the first place a person learns about Noah. Songs with catchy tunes and hand gestures often teach young ones about Noah and the ark. As an adult, I can still recall the smiles when I learned to sing about Noah and the ark. Sharing those songs with others brings joy.

The message of Noah and the ark is one to be shared with everyone. God’s covenant is forever. The rainbow in the sky reminds us of His love for His creations. Rainbows after rainfall can help us to pause and remember His covenant and His love. Think of the last time you saw a rainbow. 

Were you in awe of the majestic sight? Did you thank God for His covenant and love? Perhaps you have seen a double rainbow. God’s love is evident in His creations. By learning about Noah and the time it took him to build the ark, we can remember to have patience. God’s way and God’s timing are always best.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/photostockam

Melissa HendersonAward-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages sometimes laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals, and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers. 

Melissa is the author of Licky the Lizard and Grumpy the Gator. Her passions are helping in the community and church. Melissa is an Elder, Deacon, and Stephen Minister. 

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